Saina to face Okuhara on return

New Delhi, December 30

Olympics silver-medallist PV Sindhu has been handed relatively an easy draw but tough outings await Saina Nehwal as the Indian duo returns to international competition in Thailand, nearly 10 months after Covid-19 halted all tournaments globally.

Sindhu and Saina didn’t participate in the Denmark Open Super 750 and SaarLorLux Super 100 — the only two events which could be conducted since BWF was forced to suspend the calender after the completion of the All England Championships in March.

Now all eyes are on the two Super 1000 events — Thailand Open (January 12-17) and Thailand Open (January 19-24) as the world’s best return to action following a prolonged break.

World champion Sindhu, seeded sixth, will open against Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt, while Saina, who has recently recovered from Covid-19, will face the formidable Japanese Nozomi Okuhara, seeded third, in the first round.

In the next tournament, Sindhu will meet Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the opening round, while Saina will square off against Thai star player Ratchanok Inthanon, seeded fourth.

The 25-year-old Sindhu has been seeded sixth in both the tournaments.

In the men’s singles, a total of seven Indians, including former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth, Olympics-bound B Sai Praneeth and young Lakshya Sen, will be participating in both the events. — PTI

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